Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Aftermath

Lord Voldemort

by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

Ryan gets his marching orders, and is briefed on what the Department knows about the situation in Britain.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Characters: Ginny,Harry,Hermione,Ron - Published: 2016-07-16 - 3555 words - Complete



British Airways Flight 2042 had leveled off at about 40,000 feet, heading NNE on the great circle route to London. A couple of stewardi, who were pleasingly slim, spoke with charming British accents, and did not wear too much makeup, came down the aisle with the beverage cart. When they got to our row I pretended to wake up, folded down my tray-table, stretched a few inches (and then had to apologize on both sides) and ordered two bourbon-and-gingers, with a sliver of lime for each. Getting my wallet out of my back pocket was almost as much trouble as putting on those damn cowboy boots had been. Then I discovered that they weren’t taking cash, so I had to use the credit card I’d borrowed from my father. He’d sent it last night by Eagle Express – there hadn’t been time to get me one through a Muggle bank, and my Gringotts Wizarding Bank card would have been useless, even if it had been visible to the stewardess.

Each of those little plastic bottles is a double, two shots. I mixed my first one, opened one of the little packets of trail mix (had to use my teeth) and wondered why they didn’t call it ‘contrail mix’ on airplanes. Pretending to adjust my music, I settled back, munching and sipping, and worked hard, without making much progress, on convincing myself that I really was an international envoy, an international spy, and the United States Undersecretary for Foreign Wizarding Relations, all traveling incognito in one Economy-class airplane seat.

I remembered again how Interim Secretary Blackstone had dropped that first bomb on me. Undersecretary?! To say I was surprised doesn’t even begin to cover it. There may have been an audible “clunk” as my jaw hit the floor; I don’t know, I wasn’t listening. A corner of Blackstone’s mouth turned up, and he held up his hand.

“Hold it. I know what I’m doing, son. I’m giving you an assignment, and you’re going to need this appointment to make it work.”

“But—!” I sputtered, groping desperately for the best way to start listing all the objections that flooded into my mind, “—but…but…but…”

The Interim Secretary laughed. It was a full, genuine, hearty laugh that crinkled up his eyes. But it didn’t last long, he damped it right away, and held up both hands, palms out. “Sorry! I wasn’t laughing at you. It’s just that you sounded exactly like the crummy old outboard motor my guide uses up in Minnesota, when we go fishing and want to conceal the fact that we’re moving the boat by magic.”

He put his palms down on the desk, pushed, and stood up, fully revealing the wide blue sash around his middle, and the snow-white trousers and shoes below. “I’m not a mind reader, but I’d bet money I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. Here I am, fresh out of school, no organizational experience, brand new on the job at the Department, where, at the end of my first ten weeks I attacked and disabled the Chief Auror! On top of that, I’ve never been outside the United States except twice to Canada, once to Mexico, and once to the Bahamas. And on top of that, I’ve only been in this room half an hour – how does this batty old fart know he can trust me?” He looked me square in the eyes. “Well? Am I right?”

I looked back at him, wondering how he knew all that. “Yes sir. And I think I can add to that.”

“No doubt you could.” He gave a little nod, as if he’d decided something, and turned away. “How about a cup of coffee?”

It wasn’t really a question, and anyway I like coffee. “Sure. Thanks.”

“How do you take it?”

“No cream, just half a teaspoon – half a packet – of sugar.”

He had moved across to a sideboard, on which sat a grey coffeemaker with USN on its top in big black bold letters. He grabbed two white mugs, similarly emblazoned, and poured. “It’s Navy coffee. Better use the whole packet. Maybe two.” He handed me a mug. “Look, Jenkins, we’ll lay this out for you. Once you know what the job is, if you really don’t think you can hack it, if you really don’t want it, you can say no and go back to your old job. But I don’t think you will. Now, here’s to getting the Department of Magic back on its feet, so I can go back to my old job!”

We raised our mugs to each other, and drank. It was incredibly strong, and tasted like the charred remains of an old suitcase. I coughed. “Wow! Is that fuel for people, or ships?”


A few minutes later, we were seated comfortably in a small conference room, which had been carefully sealed, tyled, and warded. I had a fresh cup of coffee, this time laced with four packets of sugar, which improved the taste a lot; now it was more like old engine oil. We were joined by two more people, Captain Angela Mahan, USWM, who I’d met when she took over the Bureau, resplendent in her bright red uniform with the white piping, now glowing softly and steadily instead of flashing angrily as it had when she had first arrived, and a tall, thin civilian fellow with graying blond hair and a long pointed chin, dressed in deep green robes.

“All right, Jenkins, Captain Mahan you know, and this long drink of water is Geoffrey Smythe-Farrington, who is just about the only British subject in the United States, right at this moment, that I trust. That’s because I’ve known him over thirty years, and also because he’s been over here for almost twenty. Geoff, Ryan Jenkins.”

“Pleased to meet you.” We shook hands, and Smythe-Farrington appraised me with sympathy – or was it pity? “And, I should point out, I haven’t been back to England at all for nearly twelve years. So I’m not here to be a particular fount of knowledge, in respect of our present problem, but just to give a bit of perspective, as it were.”

“Angela, why don’t you summarize the situation?” Blackstone was crisp.

“Yes, sir.” She faced me and smiled, kind of ruefully. “It seems we’ve had a problem for quite some time. We knew about it, but apparently we had no idea how very bad it really was. The root of the problem is – or was – a dark Wizard, a British one, who called himself Lord Voldemort. He first appeared in Britain over thirty years ago, and built up a powerbase that eventually went nationwide.”

“I lived through that,” put in Smythe-Farrington. “I was up in a rural community in the North then – in American terms, rather like being in a farm town in Nebraska, or Iowa – so I saw the effects rather later, and perhaps somewhat less harshly, than people in the major population centers like London. None the more for that, it was bad enough in the Wizarding community. Very bad. People disappeared. Children disappeared. People were robbed and tortured. One never knew whom one could trust; he had spies everywhere, and all sorts of people let their baser natures come out, and set themselves up as petty local tyrants, thinking that they might as well be on the winning side, and the Dark Lord was going to stay forever.”

“This ‘Dark Lord,’” I put in. “Was he as bad as Grindelwald?”

“Worse, actually. You-know-who had absolutely no concept of morality at all. He said, and I quote, ‘there is no good or evil, only power and those too weak to wield it.’” End quotation.

“You-know-who? You mean, uh – Lord Voldemort?”

“Ah – sorry. Habit. Stupid, really, especially now, but there it is. We were all simply terrified to pronounce his name, lest it somehow draw his attention. Didn’t even refer to him indirectly unless we absolutely had to. It just became ingrained in one, second nature and all that. That’s one reason I didn’t mention him to you when we first met, Alistair.” He looked apologetic.

“Water over the dam, Geoff.” The Interim Secretary shook his head. “But the fact remains that here was a Dark Wizard, running a reign of terror. Grindelwald started a whole war, and everyone in the Wizarding world knew of him – but this guy was worse, and we didn’t realize it. We should have known, dammit – and if we didn’t, we should have found out! I remember hearing something about a bad Wizard in Britain, but it just didn’t seem important, somehow.”

Angela took up the thread. “That was partly because his people were deliberately minimizing or blocking the news, but also because it looked like a local phenomenon. Every country has had some Wizards go bad, very much including ours. We’ve handled our criminals, and why shouldn’t we expect the British to handle theirs? During those first eleven years, everything we know indicates that Voldemort was careful not to involve Muggles, and to keep his activities mostly within the United Kingdom. He started infiltrating the Ministry of Magic early on, didn’t he?”

“That he most certainly did,” affirmed the Brit. “All too effectively. Terrified the Wizarding press, controlled all official contact with other countries, and tried to control everything anyone said, even in private. Everybody more or less kept their heads down and their mouths shut because he was ruthless, absolutely ruthless, in finding and dealing with anyone who was even suspected of working against him. And that, ironically, is what did him in, the first time.”

“The first time?”

The Interim Secretary nodded at Smythe-Farrington, who continued, “Well, here’s the way I heard the story. In 1981, he somehow learned of a prophecy that a child would be born who could kill him. He identified this child as the son of James and Lily Potter, a young Wizard couple. He went to their house – it was in a village called Godric’s Hollow, don’t know rightly where that is exactly, but in any case – he killed the parents, and then he tried to kill their son, Harry, who was just one year old.”

“Tried to? He couldn’t kill a baby?”

“No. He couldn’t.” Smythe-Farrington smiled, broadly. “Not only did the boy live, You-Know-Who – well – V-Voldemort –“ (It was an effort, but by gum he got it out.) “—disappeared. Vanished. All his power was switched off, all over the country, all at once. It was the most amazing thing. We honestly thought he was dead.”

“But what happened? How could a year-old baby kill the most powerful Dark Wizard anyone’s ever heard of – and he must have been, if he was worse than Grindelwald – and walk off unscathed?”

“Not completely unscathed, but near enough. Harry Potter was said to be permanently marked with a scar on his forehead, in the shape of a bolt of lightning. As to how he did it, I didn’t know then and I don’t know today. I’m not sure anyone does.”

“What happened to the boy?”

“Harry Potter became famous throughout Britain as The Boy Who Lived, but he dropped out of sight. Dumbledore handled that, I believe, and he gave out that – “

“Dumbledore? Albus Dumbledore? He’s the one who finally got Grindelwald in 1945, isn’t he?”

“Yes, he did. By 1981 he’d become Headmaster at Hogwarts. Ah….you know of Hogwarts?”

“Oh, yes, I’ve heard of it, it’s the British Wizarding school. There's only the one, isn't there? I know it’s very old, but that's really about all I know.”

“Yes, just the one. But to answer your question, Dumbledore apparently placed Harry Potter with relatives while he grew up, and when he turned eleven, would certainly have brought him to Hogwarts. That’s where Harry was, so I understand, when – ah – Voldemort” (He spat the word, and glanced around triumphantly) “– came back.”

“So Voldemort’s back, and we’ve got to deal with him. Is he the one who’s been giving Parboil and Company their marching orders? Is that why you raided the Department?”

“You’re half right.” The Interim Secretary looked grim. “Angela?”

“According to the information we have now, he came back about three or four years ago,” said Mahan, “and yes, we strongly believe he had infiltrated the Department of Magic, and Slimy Parboil was his American satrap. Or one of them.”

“Or one of them,” Blackstone agreed heavily. “But it looks like we don’t have to ‘deal with him’ as you put it, because he’s dead.”

“Dead?” Light dawned, and I couldn’t help blurting out the obvious. “Was that the psychic surge we felt? Voldemort’s death? Was that what started the Meltdown?”


“Sorry, Captain, that’s just what I’ve been calling all this upheaval in my own mind. I guess I’ve been thinking that maybe I started it, going after Nosey Seward!”

This time all three of them laughed, and after a minute I had to join in.

“No son, thanks for the compliment, but quick as we are, you just don’t mount a major assault operation in Washington, D.C. – much less get the President’s authorization for it – on the spur of the moment.” The Interim Secretary was still chuckling, and wiped his eye. “But I will tell you this, what you did to old Nosey is a lot of the reason you’re here right now.” He cocked his head and fixed me with a very direct, but not unfriendly, gaze. “You didn’t know anything about any of this. You didn’t know what that ‘surge’ was all about. You didn’t have any plans, you didn’t have any allies lined up, you just did it. Why?”

It took me a moment to realize he wasn’t asking a rhetorical question. “He – he used an unforgivable curse! What was I supposed to do?”

“Exactly what you did. Perhaps a better question would be, why didn’t anybody else tackle him? It was, after all, the F.B.A.! Why didn’t everyone gang up on him?”

“I – I don’t know.”

“Angela, that question has been, and still is, top priority for you. What have you found out? Summarize for us.”

“Several factors combined, sir. Aside from the seven who died and the two who went mad, the others who were there at the time were all older people who’d been with the Department for some time, and had been office-bound paper pushers for most of it – their field experience was a ways in the past. Mostly, though, everyone was pretty thoroughly intimidated. Nosey had been just that, nosey, about the people under him, and had threatened several of them – at least four, and some others are still too afraid to tell me everything – over one thing or another in their records, in their pasts, or in their personal lives. Plus, they knew damn well that he was Slimy Parboil’s fair-haired boy, and they were thoroughly afraid of him.” She looked disgusted.

“Exactly. Jenkins, you were new enough that he hadn’t gotten around to you yet. My guess is that he would have threatened – oh, so carefully! – to come down on your parents, and blackmailed you into line that way, once he noticed you.”

“My parents?” I was aghast. “But my parents are Muggles! They couldn’t have – he wasn’t allowed to...”

“Crap.” Angela was hard-eyed. “He did exactly that to Joseph Bagalucci, and his parents are Muggles too. Elderly Muggles, out in Oklahoma, in an ‘assisted living complex,’ whatever that is. Completely helpless against anything he wanted to do to them.”

“Joey?” My voice was small. I was horrified. “Joey Baggadonuts,” as we called him in a friendly way, was one of the nicest people I’d met in the section. He was in charge of S and R – Shrinkage and Retrieval of records – shrinking voluminous files down to something like the size of a postage stamp, so the Auror files could be kept in a single room, instead of needing a whole separate 55-story tower. And, of course, finding them and restoring them as needed. Joey was about 70, his hair was white, he always wore immaculate robes, and he was looking forward to retiring in a few years.

“Look here, Jenkins,” put in Smythe-Farrington kindly, “you’re just beginning to learn how bad this all is. Threats against an elderly Muggle couple, appalling as they are, are just a tempest in a teapot. We’ve got more information to give you, but if I may be forgiven a nautical cliché, we’re all in the same boat.”

“Yes we are. And we need you to help bail it out.” Blackstone looked very uncomfortable. “It looks like the American Wizarding community has been effectively infiltrated, influenced, and all-too-largely controlled by a foreign Wizard, and for all intents and purposes virtually cut off from the British Wizarding community for years, maybe decades, and we didn’t even know it!”

I was looking at them in turn, my thoughts whirling. Angela Mahan laid it on the line.

“We need to send somebody to Britain to find out what happened, and what the situation is now. If Voldemort is really dead, and the Ministry of Magic is getting back on its feet, the U.S. Department of Magic urgently needs to re-establish communication with them. But all the senior officials here were either directly involved in the American side of the Voldemort conspiracy, or else were ensorcelled, or blackmailed – or both – into cooperating. It’s going to be awhile yet before we can be sure who’s trustworthy over here, and even when we do sort out the bad apples, the victims, the ones who’ve been cursed or compelled, aren’t very likely to be in any shape to do what needs to be done.”

Blackstone put in, “Our people overseas are a whole other problem. We've got to start dealing with them as soon as possible, and we've got to start with the United Kingdom.”

I was feeling completely out of my depth. “But Mr. Secretary, you – I mean, you’re –“

“I’m anchored to this building, son, by something stronger than any Epoxyhex – my duty. Everyone on my team – every single soul in this country that I absolutely KNOW I can trust – is trying to do six jobs at once just now, like Angela here.” Blackstone started to drink his coffee, made a face, picked up his wand and said “warmup.’” The mug suddenly steamed; and he drank. “That’s why I was so happy to find you. As I said before, you must be wondering why I’m willing to trust someone I’ve just met. Time I answered that, I guess. I took a portkey out to Bloomington last weekend, and had a good long talk, and a very fine dinner, with Chancellor Bannerman.”

I had thought I was becoming immune to surprises, and I was wrong. I blinked several times. “How is he, sir?”

“He's fine, and sends you his best.” Blackstone smiled. “He thinks very highly of you indeed. He told me about your interest in Muggle technology, especially when it’s interfaced with magic. In fact, although he assured me several times he doesn’t have a shred of proof, he’s absolutely convinced you were OZ.”

I hesitated much too long. “…Oz?”

“Don’t play footsie with me, son. Owe-zee, the Whacker who made the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles' computers display and print everything in very – colorful, shall we say? Limericks, until they rebooted the entire system. The fellow who, he strongly suspects, switched the electronic report that big international bank filed with the SEC with the private files lifted from their CFO's personal hard-drive, just before the scandal broke back in '91. The guy who Wizard-hacked the Muggle internet and phone systems and broke into computers in pretty much every high-security area on the continent, left a jpeg of the Rolling Stones' logo on the desktop, and never got caught. That’s the guy I’m recruiting.”

There was nothing for it. I shrugged. “More people are Whacking today, and it’s getting a bad name. Oz never hurt anybody or stole anything, just showed it could be done.”

“You’re cagy. That’s another thing I like about you. I should give you hell for risking exposure of the Wizarding world, but my own people have proven there’s just no way a Muggle programmer can even detect a Whack, unless it’s incredibly clumsy, which you weren’t. But it’ll come in handy. You’re going to have to fall back on Muggle methods at first, to get across the Atlantic and keep in touch with us, because right now we have no contact at all with a single Witch or Wizard anywhere in Britain – not even our own people.”
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